'The Summit' should more fully explore what drives mountain climbers

'The Summit' focuses on K2 and those who try to reach its peak.

IFC Films
The Summit

In August 2008, 24 climbers from around the world converged on the High Camp of K2, otherwise known as Savage Mountain – the second highest peak on the planet, in the northwestern Himalayan mountain range. This was the last stop before the summit. Forty-eight hours later, 11 had died. Nick Ryan’s documentary “The Summit” pieces together the fateful expedition utilizing newsreel footage, new and old interviews with the climbers and their associates, and, regrettably, re-enactments.

I suppose it was inevitable in this kind of film that scenes would have to be staged, but it does compromise the authenticity of the presentation. K2 is known as the second-most-murderous mountain, with a fatality rate of 1 in 4 climbers. I wish the film had probed more deeply into why anybody would face those odds. George Mallory’s “Because it’s there” has never quite cut it for me. Grade: B- (Rated R for some language.)

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